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Monday, June 17, 2019

New Albany Library Is Far From Ordinary

MLC Library Consultant Shellie Zeigler visited the Jennie Stephens Smith Library in New Albany, MS, a few weeks ago to conduct a site visit and attend their first summer library program of the season. Union County Library System Director Sissy Bullock oversees the system that caters to 27,000 people in this northeast Mississippi county. While the library offers a great selection of books, naturally, Sissy has found new and innovative ways to involve the library in this community and the community loves it.

Two smiling women stand with their arms around each other and facing the camera. They are outside at the front of a building. A sign next to them says Welcome Shellie Zeigler Mississippi Library Commission Bentley Burns Magician 3pm
Union County Library System Director Sissy Bullock and MLC Library Consultant Shellie Zeigler
Tanglewood Trail, a Rails-to-Trails Conservancy project located on the old Mississippi Tennessee railroad line, runs right by the library. The library decided the community needed better access to the trail and began a bicycle checkout program. All of the bicycles were donated by local patrons and businesses and the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services donated bicycle helmets. They even have a volunteer bike mechanic! Right now, their twenty-one bikes live inside the library, but the county is building them a storage shed right behind the building.

A collection of about twenty bicycles sits in the middle of a library.
Bicycles available for checkout at New Albany library

Bicycle helmets sit on top of library bookshelves. Books fill the bottom shelves.
Safety first! Each checked out bicycle comes with a helmet.
The library has also begun participating in the local "Biscuits and Jam" Farmers' Market. They truck their little trolley down the street on market days and pass out bookmarks, library card applications, and news about upcoming events. Want to learn about their summer library program? Head to the Farmers' Market!

A red wagon sits in the middle of a library. A sign on the wagon says library and colorful books are in the wagon. Books about gardening are displayed in front of the wagon.
Little Red Library Wagon
Speaking of their Summer Library Program, Shellie said the kickoff was a lot of fun. A slew of kids turned out to see Magician Bentley Burns perform a special space-themed show and a good time was had by all. If you're near Union County, you should drop by the library for more interesting and educative programming!

A man stands at the front of a room of people. They sit in chairs and on the floor and he is talking to them.
Magician Bentley Burns performs for a rapt audience.
A pile of books, all on Mississippi or written by Mississippi authors
These books were purchased with money from an LSTA grant.
Shellie also noticed this display of new books about Mississippi and by Mississippi authors. The purchase of the books was made possible by an LSTA grant administered by the Mississippi Library Commission. As a MLC Library Consultant, Shellie will check in on Sissy in New Albany again in several months, but will be back sooner if she needs advice or help with any issues. For right now, we love seeing the novel ways Sissy makes this library an essential community hub.

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